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Is your job putting you at greater risk of sleep deprivation?

Many New Yorkers work long hours or multiple jobs and come home exhausted. However, when being tired crosses the line into sleep deprivation, there is cause for concern.

Extreme tiredness takes a serious toll on people. Unfortunately, there are some occupations in which workers are at a greater risk of suffering sleep deprivation, which could lead to increased exposure to work-related accidents. 

Occupations with higher rates of sleep deprivation

According to a recent study, workers in the following occupations reported higher rates of short sleep durations: 

  • Police
  • Firefighters
  • Military workers
  • Correctional officers
  • Home health aides
  • Nursing assistants
  • Psychiatric aides
  • Truckers
  • Air traffic controllers
  • Railroad workers
  • Power planter operators
  • Quality control inspectors
  • Processing workers

These occupations all fall in emergency services, health care, transportation and production. As such, it is worth noting that they are not the only people adversely affected by sleep deprivation; so are the people around them and those relying on them for help.

How sleep deprivation contributes to work accidents, injuries

Inadequate sleep can take a serious toll on a person. Among the many consequences of sleep deprivation are:

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Impaired reflexes
  • A compromised immune system
  • Loss of balance
  • Increased mood swings and irritability
  • Impaired memory
  • Extreme tiredness

These consequences can affect workers in the above occupations in many ways. They may make poor decisions in an emergency or forget to observe key safety measures. They may fall asleep while driving or lose their balance and fall. These accidents on the job could spell disaster for the worker, as well as the people around them. 

Protecting your sleep and yourself

It may not be realistic for people to get a solid eight hours of sleep every night. However, knowing how serious sleep deprivation is could encourage sufferers to pursue measures that allow them to get more rest.

This could involve seeking medical treatment for underlying conditions, like sleep apnea or anxiety. It might entail discussing with your boss possible changes to your work schedule. In some cases, changing jobs is what is in your best interests.

Whatever solutions you might consider, prioritizing sleep can be an important step toward protecting yourself, whether you are at work or not.

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